Probate and Tax Issues

They say nothing is certain except for Death and Taxes. It is no different during Probate! As the Executor / Administrator of an estate, your duty will entail among other things the duty to prepare and file all the tax returns for the Decedent and for the Estate. To help you get started, we will discuss the most common Tax documents that get filed during Probate. 1) The Decedent’s Final Personal Income Tax Return Because taxes are filed in yearly periods (January 1 – December 31), the Final Income Tax for the year of Death of the Decedent will likely [...]

By |2021-01-27T08:32:48+00:00October 29th, 2020|Categories: wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Executor of an Estate in Texas

Executor of an Estate v. Administrator of an Estate In Texas someone is deemed the Executor of and Estate when there is Probate with a Will. If there is no will, but someone is appointed to administrate the Estate, that person will be called the Administrator of the Estate. In general their duties are the same, there might be some small differences, however in most cases, the terms can be used interchangeably. The Executor Duties under Texas Law The main duties that Texas law requires of an Executor / Administrator are: Identify and Collect the assets of the Decedent’s estate; [...]

By |2021-01-27T08:32:27+00:00October 22nd, 2020|Categories: wwPROBATE|0 Comments

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process during which someone’s estate gets distributed after their death. In Texas, an estate exists out of all the assets that are owned by someone at the time of their death. Thus, an estate may include: cash, real estate, stocks, bonds, life insurance, retirement accounts, cars, etc. Probate distributes a deceased person’s estate via two ways, the first, easiest and fastest way is to probate a Will. Most Wills in Texas are probated without any Will contest, and on average take 180-360 days, it can be longer depending on the complexity of the Estate, and the [...]

By |2021-01-27T08:31:28+00:00October 15th, 2020|Categories: wwPROBATE|0 Comments

When is a Will Valid in Texas?

Is my loved-one's will valid? Is one of the most important questions we hear from people. As with all legal questions, the answer is…. IT DEPENDS! Moreover, the validity of a Will depends on the TYPE of Will the Testator made, but before we go into this, here are the main requirements for wills in general to be valid. Legal & Testamentary Capacity & Testamentary Intent of Testator Texas law states for a Will to be valid, the following general requirements are needed (regards to the Testator): the testator/testatrix (person making the Will) to have legal capacity (be at least 18 [...]

By |2021-09-28T14:31:32+00:00October 8th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, Wills|0 Comments

Types of Probate in Texas

They say nothing is certain except for Death and Taxes. It is no different during Probate! As the Executor / Administrator of an estate, your duty will entail among other things the duty to prepare and file all the tax returns for the Decedent and for the Estate. To help you get started, we will discuss the most common Tax documents that get filed during Probate. 1) The Decedent’s Final Personal Income Tax Return Because taxes are filed in yearly periods (January 1 – December 31), the Final Income Tax for the year of Death of the Decedent will likely [...]

By |2021-01-27T08:31:45+00:00October 1st, 2020|Categories: wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Legal Zoom v. Lawyer: The Risks you NEED to know

LegalZoom, Momma-Bear and other do-it-yourself document preparation services advertise that making a Will is as easy. Although, it does not need to be complicated under the guidance of a knowledgeable lawyer, a DIY approach of filling in blanks on standardized forms, is no easy feat. We all heard the saying: “You get what you pay for!” and with legal planning this is most certainly the case. Companies that try sell you a “fast” and “cheap” fix try to make you believe that their product gives you “peace of mind”, yet there is no such thing. On the surface, things will [...]

By |2021-01-22T13:49:52+00:00September 24th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Anatomy of a Will

How do I write a will? To answer this common question, we should look at the anatomy of a Will. A will usually follows a certain pattern, this helps with determining if the testator knew what he/she was doing at the time that the document was written. The structure is in general as follows: Title (For example: “Last Will and Testament of Jane Doe”) Introduction (I, Jane Doe, of Galveston, Texas, declare this to be my Last Will and Testament …) Any prior wills must be revoked (For example: I revoke any prior wills and codicils made by me…) Who gets what (For example: [...]

By |2021-01-27T08:44:32+00:00September 17th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, Wills|1 Comment

Tips for Effective and Healthy Communication for Divorcing Parents

The way we communicate is a big part of how we see and deal with the people around us. Most people who file for divorce had a communication meltdown at one point or another. It's more than usual... when emotions run high, we are stressed out, angry, disappointed, frustrated even, our communication skills usually one of the first things to suffer. Unproductive communication like yelling, abusive language, name-calling, withholding information, or even shutting down not only complicate the divorce process, it also is unhelpful for everyone involved. This blog article helps you improve or highlight any lousy communication skills (and [...]

By |2021-02-05T11:08:02+00:00September 14th, 2020|Categories: Divorce|2 Comments

Is now the time to remodel your old trust?

There are several reasons why you should update your existing trust or perhaps your entire estate plan. While estate planning documents do not necessarily have a shelf life, they may not fulfill your goals when your circumstances change. Of course, having estate planning documents that are up-to-date is critical, but how do you know when you should make changes? Reasons to Make Changes It is important to note that just because you have a trust in place does not mean you are bound to keep it as is; this is even true if the trust was inherited from someone else. [...]

By |2021-01-27T08:46:22+00:00September 10th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, POA, Trusts, Wills|0 Comments

Are Any of These 11 Mistakes Lurking in Your Estate Plan?

1) Lack of Healthcare and Disability Planning. The majority of deaths occur in hospitals or other institutions. Patients may be incapacitated to the point where they can no longer communicate their healthcare wishes. Advance Directives and a Healthcare Power of Attorney can identify healthcare proxy decision-makers, specify wishes for end-of-life care, and provide a formal plan to control financial and property matters. 2) No will or estate plan. Without proper planning, your estate may be tied up in probate court for months or years after your death, at a great emotional and financial cost to your family. 3) Lack of [...]

By |2021-02-05T11:42:41+00:00September 2nd, 2020|Categories: wwPROBATE|0 Comments

‘Till Death Do Us Part, Too: Estate Planning Tips for Commitment Without Marriage

Advice columnist Ann Landers once observed that “love is friendship that has caught fire.”  If that’s true, there are thousands of ways for that blaze to unfold.  For many Americans, such devotion and passion do not need to be neatly formalized as marriage. In fact, our cultural norms are shifting, and quickly.  Consider the following: Per the U.S.  Census Bureau, approximately 112 million people in the U.S.  are unmarried; 45 percent of our country’s households are “unmarried households.” In 2013, the CDC found that “cohabitation [without marriage] is now a regular part of family life in the U.S.” Unfortunately, the [...]

By |2021-09-15T14:37:20+00:00August 26th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills|0 Comments

Kids Going Away To College? – Why You Should Include Estate Planning in the Preparation

You may have been running around for weeks, getting your new college student off to school. It’s exhilarating, and your heart likely is bursting at the seams. You’re probably prouder than you can say, but you’re a little afraid, too. How can you make sure your kid is going to be safe at school, so far away from home? A new Bed Bath and Beyond matching sheet set for the dorm sounds great, but it just doesn’t seem like quite enough, does it? So what else can you do? Actually, there is something, probably not yet on your to-do list, [...]

By |2021-09-21T21:50:44+00:00August 19th, 2020|Categories: College Planning, Estate Planning|0 Comments

Why Your Estate Planning Project Must Morph into a Process

Many people put their estate plan on their to-do list as a one-time project: “Create estate plan” or “Meeting with lawyer 10:30 a.m. Thursday for estate plan.” Thinking of your estate plan as a single project or task to complete and move off your list is a common approach – but it’s also an approach that can land you in considerable hot water.  Here’s why it’s essential to view your estate plan as a process, rather than a project. Process vs. Project: What’s the Difference? A project that takes several steps to complete – like an estate plan – can [...]

By |2021-09-15T16:02:23+00:00August 12th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, POA, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

10 Types of Trusts: A Quick Look

Considering the myriad of trusts available, creating an estate plan that works can seem daunting.  However, that’s what we, as estate planning attorneys, do every day. We know the laws and will design a plan which addresses your specific situation.  Here’s a look at the basics of ten common trusts to provide a general understanding. There will not be a quiz at the end. All you need to do when we meet is share your goals and insight into your family and financial situation, we’ll design a plan that incorporates the best documents for your situation. Bypass Trusts. Commonly referred [...]

By |2021-01-27T12:29:01+00:00May 1st, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts|0 Comments

3 Simple Ways to Avoid Probate Costs

The bad news: probated estates are subject to a variety of costs from attorneys, executors, appraisers, accountants, courts, and state law. Depending on the probate's complexity, fees can run into tens of thousands of dollars. The good news: probate costs can be reduced by avoiding probate. It’s really that simple. Here are three simple ways to avoid probate costs by avoiding probate: Name a Beneficiary. The probate process determines who gets what when there is no beneficiary designation. So, naming a beneficiary is the easiest way to avoid probate. Common beneficiary designation assets include: Life insurance Annuities Retirement plans Create [...]

By |2021-01-27T11:27:28+00:00April 24th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Dispelling the Top 3 Estate Planning Myths

Like any other complex subject, estate planning has its share of myths and misconceptions.  Understanding the top three estate planning myths will help you to create and maintain a plan that will work the way you expect it to work when it’s needed. Estate Planning Myth #1 – You Don’t Need an Estate Plan Because Your Spouse Will Inherit Everything A common belief is that if you’re married and you don’t have a will or a trust, your spouse will still inherit everything.  Unfortunately this is not always the case.  Who will inherit your estate even if you’re married depends [...]

By |2021-09-13T21:07:50+00:00April 17th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

COVID-19 and Virtual Estate Planning

These are difficult and uncertain times. Deal with COVID-19, changes in work situation, homeschooling, and Stay-at-Home orders can be stressful and flat-out scary. With the Nations focus now on the our personal and communal health estate planning might not be of the greatest priority to you. Or if it is, you might have questions on how you are going to get it done without actually going to see and meet with an attorney. Remote Planning your Legal Documents We can help you create your estate plan from the comfort of your home. We will set up phone of Zoom meetings [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:44:06+00:00April 6th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Virtual Estate Planning in the Age of COVID-19

As the New Normal has set in, and the COVID-19 guidelines are making traditional estate planning services impossible, we are still receiving requests by people to do their estate plan. If you are a fellow Texan looking to plan, we can help you. We have been helping people with their online planning for nearly a decade now, and are ready to serve you. Our flat fee simple estate plan package includes: Last Will and Testament Revocable Living Trust (if you choose to have a Trust Based plan) Declaration of Appointment for Guardian of a Child Durable Power of Attorney Medical [...]

By |2020-04-07T19:44:39+00:00March 18th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, POA, Trusts, Wills|2 Comments

3 Tips for Overwhelmed Executors

While it is an honor to be named as an executor of a will or estate, it can also be a sobering and daunting responsibility. Being an executor (sometimes called a personal representative) requires a high level of organization, foresight, and attention to detail to meet responsibilities and ensure that all beneficiaries receive the assets to which they are entitled. If you’ve found yourself in the position of “overwhelmed executor,” here are some tips to lighten the load. Get professional help from an experienced attorney. The caveat to being an executor is that once you accept the responsibility, you also [...]

By |2021-02-05T10:52:47+00:00March 3rd, 2020|Categories: wwPROBATE|0 Comments
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